Groundbreaking, Peer-to-Peer Approach Addresses Systemic Impediments to Inclusivity
Los Angeles, CA — Fifty Hollywood leaders and influencers, including studio heads, agency partners, senior network executives, talent and guild representatives brought together by Women In Film and Sundance Institute today announce the launch of ReFrame, a formal action plan to further gender parity in the media industry.
Building on last year’s two-day convening of this group, ReFrame’s unique strategy is its peer-to-peer approach, in which ReFrame Ambassador teams engage senior industry decision-makers. All members of the 50-person ReFrame launch team will act as ReFrame Ambassadors and personally lead catalyzing meetings with their peers, other Hollywood top executives at studios, networks, agencies and independent financing entities. ReFrame is a non-profit effort made possible by support from BMW, The Harnisch Foundation and the Women at Sundance Leadership Council.
To transform the face of media, ReFrame Ambassadors will introduce programs and collaborative practices designed by the group to address the key levers in the media ecosystem. Initial programs include (1) a customized Culture Change Toolkit to provide resources, best practices and training to create cultures that yield more balanced hiring, (2) a field-wide Sponsor/Protégé Program identifying and providing high-level endorsement for top women directors poised to advance their careers, and (3) accreditation for gender inclusiveness in the form of a ReFrame Stamp certification. In addition, ReFrame will distill existing data and conduct new original research to prove that diverse content is economically feasible and makes good business sense.
Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “ReFrame is part of a worldwide movement with considerable momentum to create equal opportunities for women. Disrupting the way the media system works requires an industry-wide solution and Sundance Institute is proud to be part of assembling the remarkable team of Ambassadors who will carry out this groundbreaking, peer-to-peer approach to making change.”
Cathy Schulman, President of Women In Film Los Angeles, said, “The industry’s long-entrenched business practices need to flex and bend to cultivate a marketplace for content that serves diverse audiences. I am so encouraged that leading members of competitive companies have come together as social activists to expand the media landscape which will increase the bottom line across the industry.”
Sundance Institute and Women In Film began working together four years ago by collecting, analyzing and releasing academic research conducted with the USC Annenberg School reflecting what holds women back from achieving the same success in Hollywood as their male peers. Many factors were identified, including: lack of awareness of the problem, lack of access to financial resources for women, misperceptions of the marketplace, unconscious bias towards women and a talent pipeline that is believed to be too shallow. With this research in hand the two organizations convened a meeting of entertainment industry decision-makers to drill into the systemic causes of gender bias and craft solutions. Next, they built out the initial three programs, hired ReFrame Director Alison Emilio, and partnered with Troika, a strategic branding and marketing agency, to bring clarity and vision to the program. Committed to driving change in the media and entertainment industry, Troika provided pro-bono services for the launch of ReFrame, which included positioning, name and logo development and creative expression.
ReFrame’s three initial offerings are:
Culture Change Toolkit
ReFrame will introduce a Culture Change Toolkit tailored to film, TV and media executives and creative teams. The Program aims to improve hiring and promotion practices for women of all backgrounds by addressing bias and other roadblocks at key decision points in the pipeline.
Toolkit components will allow Partner companies to supplement what they are currently doing to facilitate inclusion: The toolkit will include proven examples of successful strategies to change culture in organizations, gender inclusion strategies from entertainment and other industries, and unconscious bias/conscious inclusion resources tailored by expert consultants for the media field.
The ReFrame Sponsor/Protégé Program is a comprehensive and customized two-year sponsorship program to establish high-level sustainable careers for established, mid-career female directors. Research shows that sponsorship can serve as a highly effective enhancement to accelerate a woman’s career trajectory. A sponsor is an active advocate who can provide concrete opportunities for his or her Protégé.
The ReFrame Stamp will celebrate studios, networks, agencies, and creatives that have demonstrated measurable progress towards parity in front of and behind the camera when developing, producing, financing and marketing their product. The Stamp will serve as a mark of distinction for qualifying productions and will be publicly awarded to projects based on a rubric of criteria. Over time, the Stamp will emerge as the gold standard for quality programming and the advancement of gender parity in film, television and media.
Women In Film Los Angeles
Women In Film is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women, encouraging creative projects by women, and expanding and enhancing portrayals of women in all forms of global media. Given that women comprise fifty percent of the population, WIF’s ultimate goal is to see the same gender parity reflected on and off screen. Founded in 1973, WIF focuses on advocacy and education, provides scholarships, grants and film finishing funds and works to preserve the legacies of all women working in the entertainment community. For more information visit wif.org.
Women In Film presenting sponsors are MaxMara and BMW.
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Boyhood, Swiss Army Man, Manchester By the Sea, Brooklyn, Little Miss Sunshine, Life, Animated, Sonita, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Women at Sundance is the Institute program dedicated to furthering the careers of women storytellers, and works in partnership with Women In Film on ReFrame. Women at Sundance is made possible by leadership support from The Harnisch Foundation and Refinery29. Additional support is provided by LUNA® Bar, BMW, Kering, Barbara Bridges, Cristina Ljungberg, The Jacquelyn & Gregory Zehner Foundation, Susan Bay Nimoy, Abigail Disney and Pierre Hauser, and Ann Lovell.
Troika, a strategic branding and marketing innovations agency, partners with global entertainment, sports media, technology, and consumer brands to build meaningful experiences for audiences and fans. Troika’s clientele includes top entertainment companies such as Warner Bros., Turner and Starz; cultural and educational brands like Sundance Institute and UCLA Extension; innovative consumer product and service brands such as GoPro, Pechanga Resort and Casino, and Canada Goose.
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Casey De La Rosa